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21:11 16th December 2015

Cruel defeat for Royals on the road

Hull came from behind to take all three points at the KC Stadium as the rub of the green continued to elude the Royals on the road. Nick Blackman had given Reading a lead they were well worthy of, firing a wonderfully struck left footed effort high into the Hull net after some sublime build up play involving McCleary, Vydra and Norwood.

But Hull replied on the hour mark through Abel Fernandez after Elmohamady had seen his drive saved by Bond. Then in the dying stages, after a string of defensive casualties had led the Royals to field only ten men for the final minutes, Hull snatched a winner from Jake Livermore who despite appeals was not flagged offside as he prodded home from close range.

Interim manager Martin Kuhl made just one change to his eleven, bringing Michael Hector in for Hal Robson-Kanu. He named young defender Niall Keown on the bench alongside the fit again former Hull midfielder Stephen Quinn.

The Royals began the brighter and carved out two good early chances. First Williams wriggled past the last man to take a shot at goal with his left foot, only for a sliding David Meyler to do enough to take the sting out of the effort and deflect it wide for a corner.

Then, moments later, Matej Vydra shielded the ball very well, turned inside the box and teed up Blackman who forced a fine save from Allan McGregor diving to his left to push the ball wide of the woodwork.

A sublime ball from Oliver Norwood was pinged into Vydra soon after, but Moses Odubajo did well to stick out a leg before the Czech striker could pull the trigger.

The home side were posing a threat but a resolute Royals defence was denying them any sight of goal and Norwood at the other end rifled a speculative effort wide from 25 yards when space opened up for him.

On the half hour, Reading got the goal they had deserved - and what a goal! McCleary made progress down the right, cut the ball back for Vydra, who cleverly flicked it through his legs to Norwood, who in turn flicked it on to Blackman in space who waited patiently for the ball to come across his body and land on his left foot before smashing it high into the net! A wonderful team goal and Martin Kuhl's side were ahead!

Hull body 1

Bond was forced to made his first save soon after as Hull looked for an immediate response. Curtis Davies stabbed a loose ball inside the box towards goal from close range but Bond saved well with his legs to preserve the visitors' lead.

Five minutes before the break, Chris Gunter did well to glance a dangerous cross behind for a corner, which was fed into the near post. Meyler was there to flick it goalwards but it rippled only the side netting to Reading's relief.

And the Royals came within a whisker of doubling their lead on the stroke of half time when Hector's burst forward was ended by a foul and Norwood's powerful set piece skimmed off the top of the crossbar with McGregor beaten.

Hull Body 2

Half-time: Hull City 0 Reading 1

The first chance of the second half was a good one. Moses Odubajo embarked on a barnstorming burst forward and squirmed his way through a gap to find space for a shot inside the box, but Bond was off his line well to parry a well struck effort from the right-back.

Bond then gathered an effort from Livermore into his body as Steve Bruce's men began to apply some serious early pressure. Akpom volleyed just wide soon after with a brilliant effort that was just off target.
Hull Body 4

And Reading weren't helped much when Andrew Taylor had to make way six minutes into the second half, forcing a reshuffle at the back which saw Michael Hector slot in at right back and Gunter switch to the left.

Reading nearly unlocked the City defence on the hour. Williams won a free kick which Norwood floated to the far post and former Tiger Paul McShane launched his body at it but could only direct the ball wide.

However, Hull equalised soon after. Abel Hernandez was the player to prod the ball past Bond from close range, but only after some good defending from Anton Ferdinand had forced Clucas wide and then a save from Bond had parried Elmohamady's low drive in the build up. It was harsh on the Royals, even more so considering Anton Ferdinand had to withdraw with an injury moments later.

Akpom arrowed inches wide of the left post as Hull pressed for a winner and another good Bond save thwarted the Arsenal forward soon after, as the striker nearly capitalised on a mistake from Cooper at the back.

Hull Body 3
Elmohamady headed just wide and the Tigers were enjoying the lion's share of possession in the final stages as they sought the win. Then, another defensive blow - Chris Gunter left the field to reduce the Royals to ten men for the final few minutes - in which time Hull stole a winner.

Jake Livermore was the matchwinner for City, stabbing home from close range after another scrap in the Royals box, despite appeals for offside from the depleted Royals defence. Harsh on Reading, but they head home without anything to show for what was in large spells a good away performance.

Full-time: Hull City 2 Reading 1

Hull City: McGregor, Odubajo, Davies, Meyler, Hernandez (Diomande 83), Clucas (Maloney 77), Maguire, Livermore (c), Robertson, Elmohamady, Akpom (Snodgrass 77).
Subs: Jakupovic, Huddlestone, Diame, Hayden.
Yellow: Livermore

Reading: Bond, Gunter, A Taylor (Fernandez 51), McShane (c), Ferdinand (Cooper 64), Hector, Norwood, Williams, McCleary (Robson-Kanu 75), Blackman, Vydra.
Subs: Al Habsi, Keown, Quinn, Piazon.
Yellow: Bond

Referee: Mr O Langford
Att: 15,139 (197 away)